Councillors agree new housing will help Gloucester regeneration
AS Gloucester takes huge strides forward to develop the city centre, plans for thousands of homes on the outskirts have been welcomed.
The Joint Core Strategy draft consultation document was given the thumbs up by Gloucester City Council's planning policy sub- committee this week, just 24 hours after Tewkesbury Borough Council did the same.
One of the reasons it was so welcomed is because the population increase would fall in line with multi-million pound developments happening across the city at the Quays, the Docks, King's Square, The Railway Triangle and Greyfriars, among others.
But councillors also raised concerns, which will be passed on to the full council when they meet next week.
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Councillor Gordon Taylor, who chairs the committee, said: "I am broadly in support of it, it is important that we have a plan going forward.
"It is just key we get this through, otherwise we will end up with development where we don't want it.
"But one question that I have seen come up a lot is whether all brownfield sites will be developed first before moving onto greenfield sites.
"It is important that we have our housing plan laid out to align with the ongoing development of the city."
Mick Thorpe, development services manager at the city council, helped compile the 130 page document and admitted it would be difficult to achieve that.
Committee members suggested minor changes to the draft consultation document and also sought clarification on certain points.
Concerns over flooding, too many homes being built, how many affordable homes there would be, jobs and education provision were raised during the meeting, at the North Warehouse in Gloucester Docks on Wednesday night.
Coun Gerald Dee (C, Tuffley) said: "We only have a limited amount of space and if we use all that for houses, we won't have any left for industry."
Phil McLellan (LD, Barnwood) said: "I haven't seen education highlighted in the document and education is going to be a key element of this with so many more families moving to the area.
"Areas like Innsworth need to be looked at too and other areas that have an affect on flooding issues in the city. We are doing this because we need to house people, and we need to know a figure of how many of these homes will be affordable homes because currently the information in the document is too waffley."
Despite these concerns all members were in favour of the scheme and the document was passed unanimously.
Last night Cheltenham Borough Council eventually voted in favour of approving the development plan.
Councillors, who were greeted by dozens of campaigners when they arrived at the Municipal Offices at 2.30pm this afternoon, spent four and a half hours weighing up the pros and cons of the scheme.
Discussions were dominated by concerns about the amount of green belt land the town will lose around its edges as part of the plan.
If all three councils approve the document, which outlines proposals for 33,449 new homes on green and brownfield sites in the county by 2031, public consultation can then take place between October 15 and November 25.
This will involve a number of drop-in events and also information online.
Mr Thorpe said: "The key issues we have had to look at include how much growth there will be going forwards.
"It is also important to think about supporting the economy and we also need to think about the young people."
Barbera Maksymiw, interim planning policy manager at the city council, said the strategy for new homes had to 'support' the future regeneration of Gloucester.
"Evidence shows that between 33,200 and 37,400 new homes are needed, so we need to make sure we have enough land.
"Unique to this area is that we have two large centres (Gloucester and Cheltenham) and a big rural area. Therefore we have to look to Tewkesbury to fulfil our needs.
"Existing building commitments in Gloucestershire make up 55 per cent of what is needed housing wise, leaving 45 per cent still to be found, and land for 33,400 new homes has been identified."